The Department of Human Services introduced exponential changes to the age pension assets test. These changes are primarily aimed at increasing the amount of pension for those with lower wealth and income whilst reducing, and in some circumstances removing, it for wealthier aged citizens.
The new assets test considers whether an applicant has investments and/or a moderate superannuation. Assessable assets include:
- Property (excluding home);
- Motor vehicles, boats and caravans;
- Financial Investments;
- Business assets;
- Household contents; and
Previously, the pension was reduced by 3.9% for every $1,000.00 above the assets test threshold. As of 1 January 2017, this increases to 7.8%. For single homeowners, the Base Asset Limit rises from $209,000 to $250,000 and for homeowner couple rises from $296,500 to $375,000. The upper threshold will be $547,000 for single homeowners and $823,000 for homeowner couples.
Previously, homeowner couples with $750,000 of assessable assets would receive roughly $620 a fortnight. However, under the new laws this reduced to approximately $220 a fortnight.